Generative AI Offers Marketing a Time To Shine


Companies have long had the data they need to create hyper-personalized experiences. But it’s been housed in disparate data sets across multiple departments, and marketing didn’t have the power to harness it—until now.

Generative AI fuels both high-octane content creation and real-time data analysis, giving marketing teams the nitro boost needed to deliver bespoke customer communications. This can both supercharge the organization’s brand and introduce new risks. In this environment, 76% of CMOs say generative AI will change the way marketing operates—and 76% also say the failure to quickly adopt generative AI will significantly hurt their ability to stay competitive.

While many marketing organizations are already using generative AI based on public large language models (LLMs) for content creation, few have tapped this game-changing capability for extreme customization by feeding the models their own data. But that will soon change, as more than half (51%) of CMOs say they have plans to build foundation models with proprietary data—the intellectual capital about customers that sits in marketing—before the end of 2024.

Generative AI offers a way to create content faster with more personalized messages, and it gives marketing executives more control over analytics, making it far easier to distill insights from customer data with speed and specificity at scale. It highlights patterns that tease out the details of customer preference, letting marketers finally go beyond targeted segmentation to serve up truly individualized offers and interactions.

The real-time insights it enables can also help marketers gauge whether personalized products, services, and experiences are hitting the mark—and shift gears quickly when the answer is no.

The IBM Institute for Business Value has identified three things every leader needs to know:

  1. Marketing is the pacesetter for enterprise-wide generative AI.
  2. Content creators are freed from feeding the beast.
  3. With generative AI, hyper-personalization is no longer a pipe dream.

And three things every leader needs to do right now:

  1. Position marketing as the model for generative AI-driven workforce transformation.
  2. Prioritize creative ideation and high production value in marketing content.
  3. Build 360-degree customer profiles using integrated data.

What you need to know

Marketing is the pacesetter for enterprise-wide generative AI

When all the mundane and repetitive tasks are automated, how should humans spend their time? More than one in four (27%) executives expect marketing roles to be automated due to generative AI. While this may sound dire for marketing professionals, there’s a huge opportunity yet to be uncovered, according to Mark Read, CEO of WPP, the world’s largest advertising organization.

“We know what jobs [generative AI] will disrupt, but we don’t know what jobs AI will create. And I’m sure it’ll create many, many jobs. If I look at WPP, probably half the jobs inside the company didn’t exist 20 years ago. We didn’t have social media managers. We didn’t have programmatic media managers. We didn’t have search engine optimizers. I could go on.”

To realize its full value, generative AI models will need to access customer data across the full chain of engagement—from marketing to sales to service. That means marketing teams have an amazing opportunity for growth, but also need to broaden their view of data privacy and governance to manage brand risks—and safeguard customer trust. However, only 26% of CMOs say their marketing function is implementing generative AI in collaboration with both sales and customer service.

Rethinking the marketing operating model to enable more effective human-technology partnerships frees up humans to do higher-value work. Bolstering creativity and innovation, strategic thinking and decision-making, and product positioning and merchandising can help marketing teams upskill and accelerate through the learning curve. And once these teams hit their stride, CEOs can distill learnings into a road map that will help other functions integrate this technology more effectively across the enterprise.

What you need to do

Position marketing as the model for generative AI-driven workforce transformation

Challenge your CMO to redefine what marketers do. And what they don’t. Build lessons learned into transformation of other functions across the enterprise.


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